H&F Council spent £11,839.00 sending Cllr. Mark Loveday (Con) (view his controversial comments about the NCP Armadillo here) and three officials to a property developers’ conference in Cannes (see pic) - the luxury resort on the southern French coast.
Using the Freedom of Information Act to find out exactly why H&F Council agreed to spend public money on this trip we were able to eventually find out that the flight tickets alone cost £660 per person.
The four delegates were attending Marche International Des Professionnelles dans Immeubles - the world's largest gathering of property developers and agents. The conference is a must for leading property firms. H&F Council explained that Cllr. Loveday and his colleagues had gone to the exhibition as “Attendance allows individual areas to promote themselves as a business location - to either commercial, retail or leisure end-users (occupiers) and enables attendees to have the conversations necessary with central government organisations and officers that will unlock contentious development sites.”
There has been some very unpopular planning decisions made by H&F Council's Conservative Administration in the last twelve months. I'm not convinced residents will be supportive of paying for a councillor to attend an exhibition in an internationally renowned millionaires' playground so they can "unlock [Hammersmith and Fulham's] contentious development sites".
This all gives a very different take on H&F Council’s rather disingenuous “Borough of Opportunity” slogan.